Ed Hodgkinson - Our eldest active member at 75 years young
Pictured Ed receiving his "Special Club Award" Left - Jackie Lewis Head Coach & Director of the club for 40 years with former training mate Right Ian Warne who is the son of Bob Warne who ran the club prior to Jackie.
Robin Hill - Age 46 - Member since the age of 8. Ex-competitive gymnast - Now of the clubs senior coaches and judge. Pictured receiving his "Long Service Award"
Philip Davis - Age 32 - Member since the age of 3. World Class Disabilities Special Olympian - Now coaches and judges - Pictured receiving his "Long Service Award"
Pat & Alan Roach - Both in their 60's have been actively involved at the club for 29 years. All 3 of their children have been members. Now the second generation (Their grandchildren are in the F&V Squad) Pat is one of the clubs welfare officers and our receptionist and husband Alan is head of maintenance and currently coaches. Pictured receiving their "Long Service Award"
Gemma Mills - Age 36 - Member since the age of 7. Ex-competitive gymnast - Attended 3 World Gymnaestrada's, Ex-Coach. London Chair of Men's Gymnastics - Now is the clubs Treasurer - Pictured receiving her "Long Service Award"
Christopher Hunter - former ex-competitive gymnast and Kelly Hunter - Head coach of our pre-school. Both coach & Judge - Pictured receiving their "Long Service Award"
Picture above and to the right are some of the old gang and some of the younger gymnasts who are still competing, who came back for the evening to help the club celebrate it's 50th Golden Anniversary - It was a wonderful evening and really lovely to see you all.
Joshua Mason - Age 19 picking up his uncle Freddie's "Long Service Award" Freddie has been with the club since the age of 5 and is an ex-competitive gymnast. He works behind the scences of the club when he is not performing stunts in TV, Film or Theatre. He takes care of all our technical problems and helps Jackie with the website. He's also a dab hand with electrics and major maintenance when not working.
A big thank you to everyone who came to the clubs 50th Golden Anniversary last night and for making it a night to remember. What a wonderful evening, seeing so many faces from the past popping along to join us for this special celebration. It was lovely to see a reunion of past gymnasts and parents, old colleagues and renewed friendships. It was a delight to welcome all our new members into our family of gymnastics.
It was wonderful to met up with Ian Warne, with whom I spent many hours with as a young teenager doing gymnastics and reminiscing with him the good old days. I'd like to thank you for all for all the lovely memories shared for the lovely messages, cards and flowers, but the icing on my cake was when I received a heart warming message from one of my old squad girls who was so poorly that she was unable to travel.
I thought I would share her message for all those coaches out there who at times, I know feel unappreciated especially when you sacrifice your personal lives for gymnastics!
Having coached kids myself for 40 years you see them come and go and hope what they have gained through your coaching and discipline will put them on the right path for their futures. However, they never really know or appreciate what an impact you have had on their lives until they are all grown up and they have become parents themselves.
I don't think I truly knew how much of an influence I had until Stephanie Marnell wrote this: -
I am so gutted that I now won't be capable of attending tonight!!! I'm currently too poorly but wanted to so strongly because it's a special milestone both for the institution of the club AND for you personally and, if truth be told, YOU ARE that club!! You are the constant that connects ALL of 'our' pasts and whether you realise it or not or positively acknowledge 'it' or not....
YOU... Ms Jackie Lewis , have been and ARE (the mother and matriarch to each and every one of YOUR kids)
You are a massively influential female role model within my life and I have always considered you to be 'mother' worthy in my reality ...
and I know I'm not alone in the sentimentality. Every individual, from past, present and acquainted connection are bonded without question by an almost 'blood-relation' strength linkage which fundamentally exists due to YOUR commitment and dedication towards the steadfast sanctuary you provide without waiver!
As a tiny child your shout across the gym would boom and all behaviours from those in the room would falsify to within an inch of life..... but.... there was never any negative feelings OR doubt towards your love, care or maintenance of our 'best interest' as your priority in that boomy shout. As I grew under your maternal influence I have ALWAYS felt personally loved and actually 'seen' within all my time spent within the 'gym' (both during my membership AND as a returning visitor) and within your presence personally which, has played a huge positive role in my adult reflection on my past during my adult years of mental health difficulty.... and even now, my approach to tackling my physical health issues stems from and is directly influenced by your existence.
I wish you the HAPPIEST anniversary and will be present in spirit I can assure you!!!
You're very very special and we love you very very much.
Thank you for the life you have dedicated to your kids. We know we are little bastads at times and we cause you grief... but... no where else on the planet can 'we' (as the grown ups that have 'left home') return to our 'home' without notice and be absolutely safe again and feel unconditionally welcome and warmly wanted. Sorry... I know that was long! But... I'm only being honest. I wish you knew how much you mean to us... and me.
I must say I was truly touched by this and I guess the old saying is true, "You reap the benefits from the seeds you sow"
Last but by no means least, A Big Thank You to all my staff who have been so loyal, committed and dedicated, especially to those who have been with me through thick and thin over the decades. Without people like you this club would not have stayed the test of time.
Head Coach & Director
Received another lovely message from one of our old members.
It's always lovely to hear from them and nice to know coaches are appreciate. Thank you Philip Brown!
From Philip Shigeo Brown
Hello. I was just in conversation with a friend and reminiscing my years at Croydon Gymnastics for Boys (1982-6?), and saying how much I appreciated all that our coach, Jackie Lewis did for us, instilling strength of mind as well as body, determination, confidence, and more! Gymnastics gave me such a good grounding to enjoy all the other sports I did growing up and to this day so I'm forever grateful.
Sorry, it only just occurred to me to Google Jackie Lewis but I hope she gets a chance to read this!
All the very best and thank you once again!